May is Older Americans Month in Illinois and the state’s Department on Aging (IDoA) is encouraging all Illinoisans to build strength in the lives of our older adults.
“Communities of Strength” is the theme of this year’s recognition, which highlights the differences everyone can make in the lives of the state’s more than 2.8 million older adults and in support of our more than 600,000 caregivers.
In recognition of the month, IDoA released a Public Service Announcement (PSA) to create awareness of how important it is to support older family members, friends, and neighbors especially during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The PSA is also meant to raise awareness of programs and services available for seniors through IDoA, our 13 Area Agencies on Aging, and 55 Care Coordination Units.
Specifically, in the 30 second PSA, IDoA Director Paula Basta highlights options available to everyone on how they can build our strength.
In tough times, communities find strength in people and people find strength in their communities. May is Older Americans Month in Illinois, and this year’s theme is Building Our Strength. The IDoA suggests delivering a meal, transporting a senior to get a COVID-19 vaccine, or just a simple phone call to check-in helps connect to older adults.
“Now, more than ever, we should all reach out to someone we know in that caregiver role and offer some small kindness. Can you run an errand for them? Provide a meal? Maybe give them an evening off while you supervise? Even a small encouraging note or gift would brighten their day,” the IDoA release stated.
Last year, the Area Agencies on Aging served 56,590 family caregivers through programming, providing 212,200 units of service; which are diverse throughout the state.
Today in Illinois, people 85 years of age and older is the fastest growing segment of the older population, and by 2030, individuals 65 years of age and older will represent 25 percent of Illinois’s population.
Just over 80 percent of older Illinoisans have now received the COVID-19 vaccine, However, more than 88 percent of the COVID-19 deaths in Illinois have been adults 60 years of age or older. Countless others have suffered from the effects of social isolation. “It is imperative that we all continue to make sure that our older Illinoisans understand that they continue to be at risk without the vaccine,” the IDoA stated.
To learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine and find information on vaccine locations, go to https://coronavirus.illinois.gov/s/vaccination-location. Residents who don’t have access to or need assistance navigating online services can call the Vaccination Assistance Call Center at 833-621-1284. The call center is open seven days a week from 6 a.m. to midnight with agents available in English and Spanish.
For more information on how you can help strengthen your community, and for programs and services available to assist older adults in Illinois, visit www.illinois.gov/aging or contact Senior HelpLine at 1-800-252-8966 (hearing impaired call 888-206-1327) or by email firstname.lastname@example.org.